How to cope with the COVID-19 home quarantine

March 27, 2020

Filipinos are culturally sociable.  As social beings our biological, emotional, and societal systems evolved to thrive in cooperative networks of people. And like most human beings we are psychologically and physiologically “predetermined” to need social structures. Thus,  It is only reasonable that social isolation may inflict stress on our minds and bodies that has a substantial impact on health.

So President Rodrigo Duterte last March 16, 2020 declared the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon to stop the further spread of COVID-19. We were asked to sacrifice for 30 Days to do personal “home quarantine” vis-à-vis the possible effects of social isolation all for the sake of public health and the “common good”.  Thus, in order for us to deal with the possible outcomes of this “social disconnectedness” and “self isolation”, allow me to share with some practical tips we can do at home to cope with our current situation:

DON’T BE SEDENTARY, EXERCISE - Physical fitness is a vital coping mechanism for those of us trying to keep fear at bay and preserve a sense of normalcy and good health despite our home quarantine.  Rodman Lapuz, my gym trainer, gave me some useful exercise routines we can do at home, these include: 20 Bodyweight squats; 10 Push-ups; 10 Walking lunges (each leg); 10 Dumbbell rows (use a milk jug or other weight you can find at home); 15 Second Plank and 30 Jumping jacks (note: if you are not familiar on how to execute these exercise moves, you may want to watch it via YouTube).   At any rate, there are workouts for every age, gender, goal and interest, and you can workout anytime you like in the privacy of your own home. The best thing is that there are thousands upon thousands to choose from, so almost anyone can find a video your family may like but at the end the ONLY GOAL is to EXERCISE.

CREATE A FAMILY OR PERSONAL HOME ROUTINE - The combination of structure and variation of a “Home Routine” keeps people settled and stimulated which is important for emotional well-being.  Clinical psychologist Claudia W. Allen suggests “Set your alarm for your usual time and stick with your morning routine. Shower, eat what you normally would, make the bed, etc. You can skip the work uniform and dress down, but do get dressed --- don’t stay in pajamas.  Be proactive and lay out an intentional structure for your day. If you’re telecommuting, stick with your usual work times or something similar. If you’re not working, create a schedule of mealtimes, reading time, phone time, exercise, chores, etc. Have a schedule for the week as well. Make weekends somewhat different, even if that means something simple like making a more elaborate breakfast or something more involved like embarking on a project (i.e., painting a room)”.  And, if you are staying at home with the kids; try to make a schedule for them as well.  Less gadgets and more family bonding activities would be best.

SPIRITUALLY ENRICH YOURSELF – In times of crisis we should always turn to God for strength.  COVID-19 will come to pass. We say with St. Paul: “We even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts” (Rom. 5:3-5). Even in the midst of this health crisis, our Almighty God is reminding us, “fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43,1). And our Lord Jesus is constantly encouraging us “courage! Don’t be afraid. It’s me” (Matthew 14,27). “Let us never forget God, more so in these dangerous times of coronavirus. Let us recognize His power and might. What a difference it makes knowing Jesus Christ is King and that He reigns supreme and everything is under His authority. He will lead us to the rightful cure and corresponding remedy” (Most Rev. Ruperto Cruz Santos, DD; Bishop of Balanga).  Such spiritual nourishment can be done at home by Reading the Bible, Praying the Rosary as a family and by going online to watch the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (which noticeably is readily available via various social media platforms).  TV Maria (via cable TV) and Radio Veritas846 have likewise prepared other spiritual programs we can watch and listen to during the course of our home quarantine.

Finally, SUSTAIN A HEALTHY MINDSET – A healthy mindset doesn’t always refer to simply smiling and looking cheerful.  A healthy mindset is about one’s overall perspective on life and our tendency to focus on all that is good in life.  So despite the dark cloud that COVID-19 continues to cast over the country, we should find the “silver linings” in our current predicament. Personally, I finally found the time to write the book I planned writing 5 years ago.  Others would take this opportunity to spend quality time with the family, which a normal hectic day poses as a challenge for most households. I know that financially 30 days would be a burden for those daily wage earners but I also believe in the power of generosity and “bayanihan” to which Good Samaritans would always be there to extend a helping hand.  We should never lose hope.  By the way, to those who need assistance you may call the GOOD SAMARITAN hotline of Radio Veritas and Caritas Manila at 925-7931 to 40 or email at kapanalig@veritas846.ph.  Don’t forget to keep a diary or blog (written, sketches or video) of your experience during this community quarantine (of what you did and how you felt day-by-day). Taking on this activity will give you a little distance, which can reduce distress, as well as keep you open to a healthy mindset or simply interesting things that may happen during this very extraordinary experience. 

For any personal comments or suggestions you may call 0917-4805585 or email me at csorita@yahoo.com.